Bitcoin Tracker: Up, Up And Away?

Is there an alternative, profound French phrase or two that can describe what investors have seen this week with bitcoin? Because “déjà vu” no longer seems to cut it.

Bitcoin is quickly headed toward fresh three-year highs after jumping up over $100 in value since last week’s tracker. After breaking through the $1,000 mark (again) at the beginning of February, bitcoin decided to stick around.

Though the cryptocurrency flirted with higher numbers, bitcoin mostly settled just above or below $1,000 for the first half of the month — likely while investors waited to see how the whole Chinese exchange investigation storyline would pan out.

But now that the major exchanges have halted withdrawals for upgrades — and it appears, at least for now, that no catastrophic changes to the crypto-status quo are coming from the PBoC — it’s off to the races once again.

First, bitcoin has managed to stay above $1,000 for a record 10 days, leading some to speculate that the cryptocurrency could be developing a new, $1,000 price floor — though it may still be too early to tell. The rise in value is likely due to speculation that the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) will, in fact, receive approval from the SEC.

On Thursday (Feb. 23) morning, bitcoin had broken $1,150 in value, reaching a high of $1,153.04. At the time of writing, bitcoin’s price sat at $1,149 even, up 2.39 percent over Wednesday’s close. The bitcoin market cap was over $18.5 billion. The cryptocurrency’s maximum value, reached on Nov. 30, 2013, was $1,165.89, according to CoinDesk.

In stateside bitcoin news, Coinsource, the largest network of bitcoin ATMs in the U.S., recently announced the placement of three new machines in St. Louis, Missouri, the company’s first foray into the Midwestern market.

Including the three new machines, Coinsource now has 80 machines in nine U.S. states — up from 73 when PYMNTS interviewed CMO Bobby Sharp this past December. Founded in Feb. 2015, Coinsource debuted its first kiosk in the Miracle Mile Shops in Las Vegas.

Coinsource CEO Sheffield Clark said the company hopes to have 100 machines installed in the U.S. by the end of Q1, adding: “In 2016, we were installing bitcoin ATMs at an average of 1.2 machines per week. We hope to double that this year.”

Locations on the radar for new Coinsource ATMs in 2017, according to Sharp, included in Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis.

“By the end of 2017, I think we could potentially be in 15–20 states,” Sharp said. “Possibly even a couple of other continents by 2018. We definitely have some company goals to explore outside the United States.”

In addition to expanding into new markets, Coinsource has made it a goal to augment the functionality of its current and new machines in 2017. The company is looking to add more financial services and platforms, as well as to increase the number of two-way machines nationwide.

In the international market, the past few weeks have also seen a number of propositions and efforts by various global governments, financial regulatory bodies and other organizations to work toward bitcoin regulation.

The big news as of late has come out of the Philippines after the central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), announced it would actively regulate the bitcoin industry as a means to combat money laundering and terrorist financing schemes.

Earlier this month, the BSP published guidelines for entities that offer exchange services, including a registration requirement with both BSP and the nation’s anti-money laundering organization. Bitcoin exchanges will also be subject to annual fee services.

While not an endorsement of cryptocurrency by any means, the move is a step forward in the country of nearly 100 million and could work to combat the seedier elements at work in the bitcoin ecosystem, while protecting consumers and increasing financial stability for citizens using the digital currency for legal payments and remittances.

Last month, the central bank and government of the United Arab Emirates had drawn up regulatory frameworks for FinTech and digital payments at large.

Additionally, The Cointelegraph reported that government officials and political leaders have also come together to discuss the potential of bitcoin and blockchain technologies for the future of the financial industry and ecosystem in the UAE.



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